Tuesday, August 28, 2012
When the economics in the kitchen are in balance, things just fall into place. A couple of black, sombre-looking, overripe bananas hanging from the pot rack. Two tubs of leftover frosting in the freezer, almost forgotten but luckily discovered. An upcoming celebration that calls for turning on the oven, even in this 35 degrees furnace of an island.
When it's this hot, things happen quickly. Back from work, changed into shorts and the thinnest sleeveless top possible, liners pop into the muffin pan. Buttermilk gets shaken into the blender with the bananas, to be blitzed into something that looked almost better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Almost.
While the other half is out hunting and gathering, I maintain my territory in the kitchen. Flour, sugar and enough of some very good cocoa into a bowl. The same bowl takes in the banana buttermilk slurry, some oil, an egg, a dash of vanilla and a short burst of no-one-is-looking dance while whisking.
Pour, drip, lick, bake.
Twenty minutes later the kitchen smells like heaven and my minimal soiled dishes gets cleared in a jiffy. The other half asks if yellow ginger is also turmeric. I laugh, wipe down the counter and inhale the cooling cupcakes. The night will be left for him to sort out his own kitchen economics. While I, all done for the day, step into the shower, looking forward to tune to a certain sappy doctor drama and start counting down to my festive day.
Morning comes, I dress the cakes with roses and some fleur de sel, while he sweat it out in the kitchen, knee deep in spices, vegetables and a packet he refuse to open less I take a peak. It's obvious his economics are somewhat in tenterhooks but I try to let him be. I won't lie. It's difficult to watch the battle unfold. But as with previous years, he always come out a champion.
Another year, this time with a candle. We shared a cupcake after a lunch of spicy lamb peratal, his mother's recipe, with love.
Then I quietly count my blessings.
Banana Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes
Cake recipe adapted from this cake, where you will also find the recipes for both the salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate fudge frosting, first seen in Rosie Alyea's original cake post.
Yield: 12 standard cupcakes
Note: I've scaled down the recipe to make only 12 cupcakes, you may double or triple it accordingly. To keep things simple, I iced the cupcakes separately with the different frostings from my leftovers. You can, of course, do the whole dig-a-hole-in-each-cupcake thing with one frosting and ice with the other, so that all three flavors can explode in your mouth at one go.
- 105 grams all-purpose flour
- 150 grams castor sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 50 grams unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 50 millilitres vegetable oil
- 100 millilitres buttermilk
- 130 grams banana puree
- 1 egg
- 80 millilitres hot coffee (I used instant espresso)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Line a standard muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners. In large bowl, sift in all the dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix well with a heavy hand whisk for about 2 minutes. Pour into prepared tin (batter will be quite liquid). (I pour till just about 1/2 cm from the top.) Bake for about 20 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick or skewer comes out barely clean (a bit of crumbs will be just nice). Refrain from overbaking. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Do ahead: Cupcakes keep at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for up to 3 days. I thaw both my leftover frostings overnight on the counter and whip them with a whisk till fluffy before using.
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